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Packing Tips

The Definitive Guide to Everything You Can (and Can’t) Pack in Your Checked Luggage

Pop quiz: Can you bring carbonated beverages in a checked bag? What about a lighter? Or a pocket knife? We all have those items that leave us baffled pre-trip. Even the most seasoned travelers have a hard time keeping the rules straight. For parents traveling with infants, people with special medical needs, or handicapped individuals, there's even more to know. Thankfully, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) website has a massive A-Z list of what's allowed in checked and carry-on bags, but some rules are contradictory and confusing. To save you the agony of sorting it out, we've rounded up and organized 93 of your most frequently asked questions. Scroll ahead for all the intel.

What’s the 3-1-1 rule?

Before we address all your questions about individual items, here’s a primer on the notorious 3-1-1 rule: Liquids, gels, aerosols, pastes, and creams in a carry-on are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) and need to be zipped up in a quart-size plastic bag. This is known as the 3-1-1 rule because it’s three ounces, one bag, one per passenger. Also, while TSA pre-check and Global Entry allow you to skip hassles while going through security, the 3-1-1 rule is still in full effect and applies to all passengers—even those in the express lane.

Bringing Alcohol and Drinks on a Plane

Alcohol and Drinks in Checked Luggage

1. Can I pack liquids in my checked bag?

Yes! And liquids in containers with a volume greater than 3.4 ounces must be packed in checked luggage. There’s no limit for how much liquid you can bring, though too many full-size bottles can easily cause your bag to tip the scale for maximum weight requirements (so maybe leave that jumbo pack of bottled water at home). For carry-ons, individual bottles must meet the 3-1-1 rule: They can’t exceed 3.4 ounces, and all must fit inside a single, zipped one-quart plastic bag to meet the TSA’s requirements.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

2. Can I pack alcohol in my checked bag?

Go ahead and pack that bottle of Jamaican rum, but pay attention to the alcohol content—and don’t take a sip before stowing it. Each traveler is allowed to pack up to five liters (1.3 gallons) of alcoholic beverages in their checked luggage. But there’s a catch: It must be over 24 percent but not more than 70 percent alcohol, and it must be unopened. If your booze exceeds 70 percent alcohol, including grain alcohol and 151-proof rum, or you’ve broken the seal, you’re out of luck. Mini bottles of alcohol are fair game in your carry-on as long as they follow the 3-1-1 rule.

  • Checked Bag: Yes, With Restrictions

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

3. Can I pack canned beer in my checked bag?

Packing beer in your checked suitcase is fine with the TSA—there are no rules against canned bevvies in your checked bag—but your dry cleaner may have a problem, since it could explode and ruin your clothes. (See carbonated beverages below.) Do keep in mind that luggage with cans and bottles are often flagged during screening, so make sure your suitcase has a TSA-friendly lock. Bringing brew in your carry-on is a no-go because a can is probably more than 3.4 ounces.

  • Checked Bag: Yes (Not Recommended)

  • Carry-On: No

4. Can I pack carbonated beverages or soda in my checked bag?

All carbonated drinks are fine to bring in checked bags, but even if carefully packed, there’s a good chance it’ll explode in your suitcase due to changes in air pressure. When it comes to your carry-on, you’ll have to toss your soda before security because bottles and cans exceed 3.4 ounces.

  • Checked Bag: Yes (Not Recommended)

  • Carry-On: No

5. Can I pack wine bottles in my checked bag?

By all means (carefully!) pack that bottle of pinot from Napa. Even high alcohol wines, such as vermouth and Madeira, cap off at about 20 percent, so you’re in the clear for any alcohol content restrictions. Mini wine bottles are at least one glass worth (way more than 3.4 ounces), so alas you can’t carry them on and you’ll have to get your vino from flight attendant.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

6. Can I pack whiskey in my checked bag?

Packing whiskey in checked luggage is fine, as long as it doesn’t exceed 70 percent alcohol. Most popular whiskeys are roughly 40 percent alcohol and are good to go. And if you opt for those minibar-size bottles, you can even stash them in your carry-on (though no sipping in advance; they need to be sealed).

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

7. Can I pack water bottles in my checked bag?

You don’t have to worry about water bottles in checked bags, so feel free to BYO H2O. But even those tiny bottles of water are more than 3.4 ounces, so they and won’t pass security in a carry-on.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

Bringing Fire Starters and Smoking Items on a Plane

Fire Starters and Smoking Items - Pack in Checked Bags

8. Can I pack a lighter in my checked bag?

You’ll have to skip traveling with an arc, plasma, or e-lighter, whether in a checked or carry-on bag. A disposable or Zippo lighter in your carry-on won’t pose a problem, but it must be empty if checked. There’s one exception: Those willing to go through the headache of getting a special Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved carrying case can pack and check up to two filled lighters.

  • Checked Bag: Yes, With Restrictions

  • Carry-On: Yes

9. Can I pack matches in my checked luggage?

Strike-anywhere matches are banned from both checked and carry-on luggage. One book of safety matches is fine in a carry-on.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

10. Can I pack butane in my checked luggage?

If you’re worried about good hair days, rest assured that cordless curling irons with butane and a gas cartridge are allowed in carry-on bags only, but it must have a safety cap. Otherwise, butane isn’t allowed in either checked or carry-on bags.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: Yes (For Curling Irons)

11. Can I pack candles in my checked luggage?

Votive, tea lights, or tapered and tall—any type of candle can be packed in a checked bag, but gel-type candles (as opposed to solid) aren’t allowed in carry-ons.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

12. Can I pack cigarettes or tobacco in my checked luggage?

Tobacco and regular cigarettes are fine in checked and carry-on bags (although obviously you can’t smoke ‘em if you got ‘em while on board); e-cigarettes are subject to restrictions (more on that below).

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

13. Can I pack vaping items or e-cigarettes (e-cigs) in my checked luggage?

A big no. All electronic cigarettes and vaping devices have to be in your pocket or carry-on bag. However, the TSA recommends checking with your airline for additional rules or restrictions.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: Yes

14. Can I pack Juul in my checked luggage?

Whether it’s mango, crème, or mint Juul, sorry to say these still fall under the same e-cigarette rules above, so packing it in a checked bag is a no-go. You’ll have to stash this in your carry-on or keep it in pocket.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: Yes

15. Can I pack dip in my checked luggage?

There are no restrictions on dip or chewing tobacco in checked or carry-on luggage. But if you do take it into the cabin, your seatmate may get annoyed if you bust it out. Be considerate to your fellow travelers.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

16. Can I pack medical marijuana in my checked luggage?

Nope. Even if you’re in a state where medical marijuana is legal, going through airport security means you’re on federal turf—and possession of medical marijuana is illegal under federal law. It’s worth noting that TSA screenings are focused on “threats to aviation and passengers” and “officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs,” according to their site. However, if they do find a stash, they’re obligated to report it to the police.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: No

17. Can I pack CBD oil in my checked luggage?

The TSA website doesn’t differentiate between medical marijuana and cannabis infused products, including cannabidiol (CBD) oil. So the official answer is no—even if it’s completely hemp-based and doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That said, the chances of running into trouble with CBD-oil-infused hand lotion, for example, is relatively slim (even in a carry-on, as long as it’s in a 3.4-ounce bottle or smaller). Either way, ask yourself: What stresses you out more—traveling without your CBD product or getting nabbed carrying it?

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: No

18. Can I pack edibles in my checked luggage?

All the restrictions on marijuana also hold true for edibles. That said, TSA agents aren’t going out of their way to test if any snacks you’re carrying are laced with anything, ahem, extra. But still, it’s best to finish that pack of gummies before getting to the airport.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: No

19. Can I pack a bong in my checked luggage?

Surprise! Traveling with marijuana paraphernalia is completely legal. A bong packed in a checked bag isn’t likely to raise a flag, even with trace amounts of resin. If you go through security with one stashed in your carry-on though, you can bet on getting pulled over and having your bag rummaged through to make sure you aren’t bringing any buds aboard. But a bong by itself shouldn’t be an issue.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

Bringing Food and Food Prep Items on a Plane

Food and Food Prep Items - Pack in Checked Luggage

20. Can I pack food in my checked luggage?

Foodies, rejoice! You’re free to pack all your goodies in checked luggage. As for bringing an airplane picnic in your carry-on, it’s allowed. TSA agents just prefer that food is separated from everything else for screening, so be prepared to take it out and place it on a tray.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

21. Can I pack canned food in my checked luggage?

Absolutely. Stuff in as many tins of foie grás as you please! (Or as many as luggage weight restrictions will allow.) As for your carry-on, bringing canned food through security is technically allowed, though it’ll likely be inspected and could be tossed at the discretion of the TSA agent for not meeting liquid requirements and other potential concerns.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

22. Can I pack frozen food in my checked luggage?

There are no restrictions for food in checked or carry-on bags. However, keep in mind that melting ice can be a problem. If it’s in your carry-on and there’s too much liquid, it won’t pass security. (Plus, it can leave the contents of your bag a soggy mess.)

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

23. Can I pack frozen meat in my checked luggage?

Carnivores, your worries are over. Meat is treated like any other frozen food product. Pack it in your checked bag or your carry-on, just make sure your steak doesn’t melt while going through security.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

24. Can I pack fruit in my checked luggage?

Most fresh fruit and vegetables from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands can’t be brought to the U.S. mainland. And not all produce transported internationally in checked or carry-on luggage is allowed into the U.S.; fruits and vegetables (along with some animal products) must be listed on custom forms and declared upon arrival.

  • Checked Bag: Yes, With Restrictions

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

25. Can I pack chocolate in my checked luggage?

Packing solid chocolate in a checked bag is a-OK. Keep in mind it might melt in transit, so stick it inside a sealed plastic bag or container so you don’t risk painting the inside of your suitcase with cocoa. Better yet, keep it in your carry-on (easy access is a bonus!) where it’ll be in a more temperature-controlled environment. More than 12 ounces of powdered chocolate will be screened separately at security if it’s in a carry-on, and you may have to open the container.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

26. Can I pack cheese in my checked luggage?

The TSA doesn’t place restrictions on packing any cheeses, in a checked bag. Just remember that items in a checked bag can be subjected to temperature fluctuations. (Hot days plus soft cheese can equal disaster.)  If we’re talking carry-on, creamy cheese (and yogurt) must be in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces to meet the 3-1-1 rule like any other liquid or cream. Keep in mind that agricultural products brought from other countries must be declared on custom forms.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

27. Can I pack butter in my checked luggage?

Butter in checked luggage? Hey, we don’t judge; go for it—no restrictions apply. Bringing it in a carry-on is also OK, though if it liquefies at security, it counts as a liquid, so don’t try this during a heat wave.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

28. Can I pack flour in my checked luggage?

Bakers, you are clear for takeoff. There are no restrictions for packing your flour in checked luggage. For carry-on bags, flour containers more than 12 ounces must be screened in a separate bin at security.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

29. Can I pack ground coffee in my checked luggage?

If you’re looking to bring back some premium java from Columbia, Costa Rica, or any boutique roaster, you’re in luck. Coffee beans and ground coffee are allowed in checked luggage. Ground coffee is considered a powder, so bringing more than 12 ounces in your carry-on means a separate screening.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

30. Can I pack jam in my checked luggage?

If jam is your jam and you’ve picked up multiple jars during your travels, it’s best to pack them (with plenty of padding) in checked luggage. Gels (or jellies and jams, in this case) must be in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces to put in a zip-top bag, but it’s possible to squeeze some of those mini one-ounce jars in there.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

31. Can I pack protein powder in my checked luggage?

Whey, pea, hemp, casein powder—whatever you use to bulk up your smoothies, it’s all allowed in checked luggage. Carry-ons are a different story: Like flour and chocolate powder, protein powder will be screened separately if you’re bringing on more than 12 ounces.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

32. Can I pack formula in my checked luggage?

You can pack any amount of formula in a checked bag, and the TSA allows a “reasonable” amount of formula and other baby food such as breast milk and juice in a carry-on. (Thank goodness—traveling with kids is hard enough!) The bad news is that agents may ask that you unpack your diaper bag so items can be screened separately and open bottles and containers. Also, if you prefer to skip having your child’s food go through the X-ray, it’s OK, but it means the TSA agent will take extra steps—and extra time—to get it through.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

33. Can I pack dry ice in my checked luggage?

You can pack dry ice, though no more than 5.5 ounces for checked and carry-on luggage—and you must get airline approval first. It also needs to be packaged and marked properly. But it’s worth the hassle if you’re looking to transport frozen foods, and you’re trying to avoid a melted puddle in your suitcase.

  • Checked Bag: Yes, With Restrictions

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

Bringing Health and Beauty Items on a Plane

Health and Beauty Items - Packing a Checked Bag

34. Can I pack soap in my checked luggage?

Go ahead and take your favorite suds with you. Solid soap is fine for both checked and carry-on luggage, but liquid soap must be in a container 3.4 ounces or less if it’s in a carry-on. (The same goes for hand sanitizer.)

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

35. Can I pack shampoo in my checked luggage?

There are no issues with packing shampoo in checked luggage. If you’re only traveling with a carry-on, and you prefer to BYO shampoo, make sure it’s in a 3.4-ounce container to meet the 3-1-1 rule.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

36. Can I pack a can of hairspray in my checked luggage?

Don’t stress—your hair can stay selfie-ready because hairspray is a-OK to pack. Both pump and aerosol hairspray are allowed in checked luggage, and if they’re smaller than 3.4 ounces, you can throw them in carry-on bags, too.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

37. Can I pack dry shampoo in my checked luggage?

You won’t be plagued with greasy hair after a long flight—the TSA doesn’t treat dry shampoo any differently than liquid shampoo. Pack as much as you want in your checked bag, but keep it under 3.4 ounces in your carry-on.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

38. Can I pack hair mousse in my checked luggage?

The rule for mousse is the same as hairspray or any other liquids. Pump or aerosol cans are allowed in a checked bag, and you can toss it in your carry-on as long as it’s a travel-size 3.4-ounce bottle.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

39. Can I pack spray sunscreen in my checked luggage?

Heading somewhere sunny? You can pack as much sunscreen as you like in a checked bag. But we recommend keeping some handy in your carry-on, too, since the sun’s rays in the airplane cabin can be especially harsh and damaging. Like other liquids and creams, any sunscreen you take in your carry-on must be 3.4 ounces or smaller.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

40. Can I pack nail polish in my checked luggage?

Feel free to switch up your colors while on vacay. There’s no limit to how many bottles can go in your checked luggage. And, because nail polish bottles are way under 3.4 ounces, you won’t have a problem stashing it in your carry-on either. (Just make sure they all fit in your single zip-top bag.) Score for being able to fix a chip pre-flight! These same rules apply to nail polish remover.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

41. Can I pack nail scissors in my checked luggage?

You can put scissors in your checked bags, but the TSA recommends throwing a sleeve on them if they’re sharp or long. If the nail scissors are shorter than four inches (which is usually the case) they can go in a carry-on, too.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

42. Can I pack contact lenses in my checked luggage?

Feel free to pack contact lenses in your checked bag and your carry-on. Contact lens solution can be stashed in either spot, too, but if it’s in your carry-on, it’ll need to meet the 3-1-1 rule and stay under 3.4 ounces. (Most brands make travel-size bottled.)

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

43. Can I pack an electric toothbrush in my checked luggage?

It doesn’t matter if you have an electric or battery-operated toothbrush—it can be packed in a checked or carry-on bag. And there are no restrictions against regular batteries (AA, AAA, C, and D), so pack up all those items and make your dentist proud.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

44. Can I pack an electric razor/shaver in my checked luggage?

Yup! Electric razors can also go in checked or carry-on luggage. The same goes for disposable razors. Safety razors have to be packed in a checked bag unless the blade is removed.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

45. Can I pack a hair straightener in my checked luggage?

Not all hair tools can be packed in a checked bag, but a straightener can. You can also throw it in your carry-on, if you’re looking to do a quick touch-up when you’re back on the ground.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

46. Can I pack medicine in my checked luggage?

Sure, you can pack medicine in checked luggage, but please, keep some in your carry-on, too. You don’t want to risk being without it if your bag gets lost. A reasonable amount of medically necessary pills and liquids are allowed, although they have to be screened at security. Tell a TSA agent if you’re carrying medicine that exceeds the 3-1-1 liquid rule. Also, make sure everything is clearly labeled.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

47. Can I pack vitamins in my checked luggage?

The same rules for medication applies for vitamins, except liquid vitamins must be in a bottle 3.4 ounces or smaller if you want them in your carry-on.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

48. Can I pack needles/syringes in my checked luggage?

You’re fine stashing these in your checked bag, and there are no special instructions for packing used or unused syringes there. If you’re carrying them on, there’s more to know: First, make sure to tell the TSA agent that you have them. Unused needles must be brought on with their injectable medication, and used needles belong in a sharps container or similar hard case.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

49. Can I pack paracetamol in my checked luggage?

Paracetamol is generic acetaminophen in the U.S. (aka Tylenol), and it can be packed in a checked bag. If it’s in liquid form in your carry-on, it has to meet 3-1-1 requirements. That said, there are exceptions if it’s medication for children.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

50. Can I pack personal oxygen in my checked luggage?

Sorry, but compressed oxygen of any kind cannot be packed in checked luggage. If you require medically necessary personal oxygen in-flight, definitely check with your airline well in advance.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

51. Can I pack shoe inserts in my checked luggage?

Good to know: Gel inserts can only be packed in a checked bag. If your shoes happen to have built-in gel heels, those are OK in a carry-on. However, an extra TSA screening may be required on your kicks.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

52. Can I pack an air mattress in my checked luggage?

It doesn’t matter if your air mattress has a built-in pump or not—both kinds are allowed in a checked bag or carry-on. (Good news for couch-surfers that would rather BYO mattress.) However, if it’s oversized (like a California king might be) be sure to check dimensions in advance to confirm it doesn’t exceed your airline’s limits.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

53. Can I pack a CO2 cartridge in my checked luggage?

As long as the CO2 cartridge is empty, it can go in a carry-on or checked bag. But double-check that it’s emptied out since no filled CO2 cartridges are permitted on board.

  • Checked Bag: Yes, With Restrictions

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

Bringing Cleaning Products on a Plane

Cleaning Products - Packing Checked Luggage

54. Can I pack bleach/Lysol in my checked luggage?

Sorry, germophobes. Liquid bleach is prohibited from both checked and carry-on luggage.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: No

55. Can I pack chlorine in my checked luggage?

Like bleach, chlorine is among the liquids completely prohibited from taking on the plane, so you’re better off picking up these cleaning products when you land.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: No

56. Can I pack washing powders in my checked luggage?

Washing powder can be packed in a checked bag, and that’s a good place for it. Bringing it in a carry-on means it’ll get an extra screening if there’s more than 12 ounces.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

57. Can I pack detergent in my checked luggage?

For powder detergent, follow the same rules as washing powder above. Checked luggage is the best place to stash this. Any liquid detergent that’s in a carry-on has to be 3.4 ounces or less, which should be around enough for a single load. You aren’t allowed to bring bleach on the plane, so technically the detergent should be bleach-free.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

58. Can I pack Tide Pods in my checked luggage?

Feel free to throw Tide Pods in your checked bag. Those curious enough to cut a Tide Pod open to see what’s inside (not recommended!) know it’s filled with gooey liquid detergent, so for a carry-on, you can toss a handful in your quart-size plastic bag since it counts toward your 3-1-1 allowance.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

Bringing Tools on a Plane

Tools for Packing in Checked Bags

59. Can I pack tools in my checked luggage?

Grab your measuring tape: Tools such as screwdrivers and wrenches that are longer than seven inches must go inside checked luggage; anything shorter can go in a carry-on. Multipurpose tools that have scissors longer than four inches or those that include knives also need to be checked.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

60. Can I pack scissors in my checked luggage?

Scissors of all lengths and types (pinking sheers, anyone?) can be packed in your checked bag. However, carry-ons are another story. Scissors here must be shorter than four inches, so those mini nail ones should be fine, but anything longer isn’t.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

61. Can I pack knives in my checked luggage?

Yes, you can pack knives in checked luggage (sheathed, obviously!). But these are a no-go in carry-ons unless they’re plastic or round-bladed butter knives.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

62. Can I pack a Swiss Army knife in my checked luggage?

It’s fine to check it, but even a keychain-size Swiss Army knife can’t be brought into the cabin, so leave this multitasking tool in checked luggage or at home.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

63. Can I pack a pocket knife in my checked luggage?

Go ahead and tuck that pocket knife (sheathed or folded, please) in your checked luggage without worry. But knives of any size are prohibited from carry-on bags (apart from the rounded ones you’d use to butter a roll), so make sure this goes in a checked bag.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

64. Can I pack a box cutter in my checked luggage?

Yes, you can bring box cutters in checked luggage. And actually, that’s the only way you can pack them, because they aren’t allowed in the cabin.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

Bringing Technology and Electronics on a Plane

Technology and Electronics - checked luggage

65. Can I pack a laptop charger in my checked luggage?

Laptop chargers are allowed in checked bags, though if you’re planning to do work in-flight, you’ll wanna stick it in your carry-on.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

66. Can I pack a phone charger in my checked luggage?

By all means, feel free to throw your phone charger in a checked bag. That said, we recommend you keep this in your carry-on so you can charge your phone on the fly and keep your battery topped up.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

67. Can I pack an AC adapter in my checked luggage?

Indeed you can! Just like laptop and phone chargers, AC adaptors are fine to pack in both checked and carry-on luggage.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

68. Can I pack an extension cord in my checked luggage?

Extension cords can be packed in a checked or carry-on bag without breaking any TSA rules. And let us to make this practical suggestion: wrap up cords and wires so you don’t arrive with a tangled mess in your suitcase.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

69. Can I pack controllers in my checked luggage?

Gamers, you can breathe a sigh of relief. You’re free to put controllers in both your checked luggage and your carry-on. The same goes for full-size game consoles.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

70. Can I pack lithium batteries in my checked luggage?

Most devices we use today contain lithium-ion batteries, but they’re less than 100 watts, meaning they’re fine to bring in checked or carry-on luggage. If they’re loose and over 100 watts, they can’t go in checked bags must be in your carry-on. Also, passengers are restricted to two spare batteries per person in a carry-on with the airline approval.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

71. Do controllers count as lithium-ion batteries when packing checked luggage?

More good news for gamers: Like iPhones, tablets, etc., controllers’ lithium-ion batteries don’t exceed the amount of wattage to prevent them from going inside a checked bag, so there are no restrictions.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

72. Can I pack an iPad in my checked luggage?

No problem. You can put this in your check bag. But, um, can we ask why? After all, an iPad offers loads of in-flight entertainment (airplane reading, games, that Netflix show everyone is talking about). Our recommendation: Keep it handy in your carry-on where it’ll make your flight go faster.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

73. Can I pack a laptop/computer in my checked luggage?

Like tablets and mobile phones, laptops are completely fine to stash in a checked bag or carry-on. But let us recommend the latter, since it won’t get tossed around as much and you won’t risk the heartbreak of both a lost bag and a lost laptop should your suitcase not make it to the luggage carousel.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

74. Can I pack a drone in my checked luggage?

The TSA doesn’t have any issues with packing them in checked bags or carry-ons, but airlines have different policies about bringing drones on board, so it’s best to check in advance. Keep in mind, the majority of drone batteries can’t be placed in luggage and need to be carried on. (See our lithium batteries answer above.)

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

 

Bringing Crafts and Hobbies on a Plane

Crafts and Hobbies - packing checked in luggage

75. Can I pack knitting needles in my checked luggage?

Knitters, you’re in luck. You can absolutely pack your needles in your checked bag. And if you’re gunning to finish that scarf and want to do so in-flight, you can bring needles in your carry-on, too.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

76. Can I pack needlepoint needles in my checked luggage?

Go ahead and get your stitch on: You’re free to pack these in checked bags or carry-ons, just make sure for the latter there aren’t circular thread-cutters or other blades involved.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

77. Can I pack acrylic paint in my checked luggage?

Yes! Acrylic paint is water-based, so it isn’t flammable, so that means you can pack it in a checked bag; in a carry-on it must follow the 3-1-1 rule.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

78. Can I pack spray paint in my checked luggage?

Sorry, graffiti artists. Spray paint isn’t allowed in checked or carry-on bags.

  • Checked Bag: No

  • Carry-On: No

79. Can I pack books in my checked luggage?

Sure, and it might even save you time in the security line, since books can sometimes be pulled out for extra inspection as they’re a favorite hiding spot for prohibited items.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

80. Can I pack bowling balls in my checked luggage?

There’s zero issue with packing a bowling ball inside checked or carry-on baggage—but good luck sticking to the weight restrictions either way!

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

81. Can I pack darts in my checked luggage?

Since they’re pointy and potentially harmful, darts can only be packed in checked bags and aren’t allowed in carry-ons.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

 

Bringing Self Defense Items and Weapons on a Plane

Knives, Guns & Self defense packing in checked luggage

82. Can I pack pepper spray or mace in my checked luggage?

The TSA permits you to check one can of pepper spray it as long as it’s four fluid ounces or less, but definitely check with your airline because other restrictions might apply. Also, note that if your self-defense spray contains more than two percent tear gas (by mass), it’s banned completely. There’s no bringing pepper spray in carry-on luggage, no matter the size or formula.

  • Checked Bag: Yes, with Restrictions

  • Carry-On: No

83. Can I pack a knife (for self defense) in my checked luggage?

Yes, you can pack a knife in your checked luggage—and in your checked luggage only. Plastic or rounded butter knives can be carried into the airplane cabin, but neither make a good self defense weapon unless you’re protecting yourself against a dinner roll. If you are putting a knife in your checked bag, do yourself a favor and make sure it’s sheathed so you don’t accidentally slice yourself or anyone else rummaging through your suitcase.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

84. Can I pack martial arts weapons in my checked luggage?

Yes, and that’s where they must be packed. All martial arts weapons (nunchakus and tonfa alike) are banned from carry-on luggage.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

85. Can I pack a gun in my checked luggage?

The TSA allows firearms in checked bags, but you should contact your airline well before your trip to learn about any additional restrictions. Carry-on luggage is a different story: The only guns that are allowed in a carry-on are tattoo guns and toy guns that don’t look real (think brightly colored water guns). All other guns—even nail guns and toy guns that do resemble the real thing, like Nerf guns—must be packed in a checked bag.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

86. Can I pack ammunition in my checked luggage?

Even though there are no TSA restrictions on ammunition in checked luggage, it’s wise to contact your airline in advance about whether it’s allowed in checked bags. Ammo cannot be brought in a carry-on.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: No

 

Other Checked Baggage Frequently Asked Questions

Other Frequently Asked Questions - Bikes - packed in checked bag

87. Can I pack wrapped presents in my checked luggage?

Yup. And it’s best to pack a wrapped present in checked luggage, because if it’s taken in a carry-on, a TSA agent may open it for additional screening.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

88. Can I pack snow globes in my checked luggage?

It’s totally fine to pack that mini “winter wonderland” in your checked bag, just be sure to put plenty of padding around it. Small snow globes (about the size of a tennis ball or smaller) that appear to hold 3.4 ounces of liquid can go in a carry-on bag, too.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

89. Can I pack glass in my checked luggage?

You can, but use common sense and wrap it carefully, since suitcases can get chucked around by baggage handlers. Glass is allowed in carry-on bags as well.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

90. Can backpacks be checked luggage?

Yes, a backpack can be checked or carried on. If you’re opting for the latter and it’s a large camping backpack, bust out your measuring tape and make sure it doesn’t exceed your airline’s size and weight requirements or it’ll end up checked, regardless.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes

91. Can a box be checked luggage?

Yup! Single boxes can be checked or carried into the cabin as long as they meet the airline’s size and weight requirements. Just be aware: Whether you check or carry on a box, there’s a good chance it’ll be opened for inspection—particularly if it’s an unmarked mystery package.

  • Checked Bag: Yes

  • Carry-On: Yes, With Restrictions

92. Can a bicycle be checked luggage?

Bicycles aren’t banned from being stowed in cargo or in the cabin, but the TSA leaves this one up to the airlines, because rules vary from carrier to carrier (and some charge an additional fee, so be ready for that).

93. Does checked luggage have to be locked?

Checked luggage doesn’t have to be locked—in fact, the TSA recommends not to (though it isn’t restricted). Many travelers opt to lock suitcases anyway using a TSA-friendly lock that doesn’t need to be broken in the event agents need to check the bag’s contents.

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